7 Make-Ahead Tailgate Drinks

Tailgate gameplan: Easy mixed drinks that you can make ahead of time.

You don't need us to tell you that when it comes to throwing a successful tailgate party, top-notch food and drinks are priority #1. Of course, as far as beverages are concerned, there's nothing easier or more iconically "tailgate" than simply cracking open your favorite beer. But what if you want to expand your offerings to include mixed drinks as well? With all the pre-game excitement and socializing, the last thing you want is to be stuck struggling to mix and serve complicated cocktails from a makeshift back-of-your-truck bar.

Keep tailgate bartending a low-stress affair by planning ahead, choosing drinks that can be made partially beforehand and in large batches. Here are eight favorites, along with tailgating-approved food pairing suggestions.


Bleeding Mary

From The Daily Meal

Of course! Freeze the mixer ahead of time, and keep the pre-prepared cubes in the cooler with the vodka bottle. When you're ready to serve, just combine together in a cup.

Food pairing: Dean Fearing's Frito Pie


Beer-y Bloody Mary

The classic Bloody Mary spiked with your favorite chilled lager. Combine the vodka and ingredients for the Bloody Mary mix together in a pitcher, then when you get to the party, add in the beer so that it doesn't get flat.

Food Pairing: Queso with Chile con Carne


No-Soak Sangria

From The Daily Meal

A boozy, easy-prep recipe for Sangria that achieves that great, fruit-forward flavor without requiring that the fruit soak in the liquid for hours. 

Food pairing: Ribs


Citrus-Beer Punch

From Bar None Drinks

A bright, tangy punch you can make in a party-sized batch. Mix the base at home then add the beer at the last moment when you're at the tailgate party. A refreshing match for your spicy, game-day fare.

Food pairing: Ultimate Sriracha Burger


Beer Jello Shots

From DrinkStreet.com

The ultimate make-ahead beverage party-starter with a beer twist. Keep chilled and shoot.

Food pairing: Midwestern Grilled Bratwurst Sandwiches


Pomegranate Mulled Wine

From The Daily Meal

For those cooler game days, a not-too-sweet mulled wine featuring pomegranate liqueur. Make this drink at home, then keep it warm in a thermos.


Food pairing: Blackened, Hot and Crispy Wings